Monday, December 28, 2009

The Stagnant Lake

For this piece I finally moved to the big- time. The base is made from 1/4" MDF. No double- corrugated cardboard or foamcore here, and no masking tape on the edges, either.

The banks of the lake were made by tracing the outline of the base on a piece of cardboard. This was cut out and then the bed was drawn out on the carboard and cut out as well. This left a nice ring- shape to fill with water.

The cardboard bank was glued onto the MDF with white glue and allowed to dry. Once it had dried the edge of the carboard was cut and angle for a better transition from table top to terrain. Wall filler was then applied to the bank to smooth out the corrugations and to blend the bank into the base.

The center hill is a piece of blue insulation foam cut to shape and smoothed with sandpaper.

The cross is simply balsa wood strips cut from a large sheet and glued together. The cross is pinned together with with floral wire to help keep it together and glued with with white glue. The cross was also pinned and glued to the hill.

The figure on the cross is a MageKnight Wereraven minus wings. The feet were bent down slightly to look like it was hanging. Small disks were cut from a plastic lid with a leather punch and glued on the wrists for nail heads. The figure was attached to the cross with super glue.

Sand was glued to the bank of the lake with white glue.

Once everything was dry the foam hill was brush painted black and then the piece was spray- primed black. The lake bed and banks were drybrushed from dark brown to brown to light brown to tan. The cross was drybrushed from dark brown to Burnt Sienna to a few shades of grey. The figure was painted like a normal mini.

Once painting was finished my standard ground cover mix was glued in various placed on the banks and along the edge of the lake bed to simulate weeds. Bristles from an old paintbrush were cut off and glued to the edges of the banks to simulate rushes.

After this was dried the nightmare began...

After the sucess I had with Woodland Scenics E-Z Water on the Jungle Project I thought I'd use it again. I began by heating up a batch and pouring it into the lake. It didn't flow out very well and began to cool in lumps. Several more batches were heated and poured, each one larger than the last. The liquid still wouldn't flow evenly, and began to form a lumpy, uneven surface. Air bubbles also began to form all over the piece.

I finally stopped playing with the stuff when it set off the smoke detector in the hallway. It wasn't smokey in the house, but according to my wife the smell was aweful. I hadn't noticed being I was working over the crap.

I let the piece cool as I opened doors and windows with single- digit temperaturs outside to get the smell out of the house.

After seeing how the E-Z Water had ruined my hard work, I took the suggestion from the instuctions and drove over to my dad's place with terrain in hand to try to even the surface with a heat gun.

The heat gun worked well; at high setting it burned the brush bristles and ground cover, but on low setting it slowly melted the water and smoothed it out- somewhat. Unfortunatly the foam hill couldn't take the heat and shrunk down to a small bump.

Woodland Scenics E-Z Water is only good for small puddles and such. Never use it for a large project, or you will be very disappointed. The piece turned out all right in the end, but an hour and a half with a heat gun just isn't worth it.

At one point I left this piece in my car overnight in the middle of a Minnesota winter.  The next day I was horrified to see that the E-Z Water had cracked all over the piece, all the way to the base.  I was so disheartened I placed it on a shelf and it has sat there ever since.  I just had an idea to turn it into a swamp or bog...

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